We all know that many, if not most of the records we are looking for are out there…..somewhere. We just have to conduct the right search online, go to the right repository or connect with the right cousin to find them.
I don’t know why these records hide from us. I think a lot has to do with our knowledge. As we build our knowledge of a certain family and likewise our knowledge of what’s available, it seems that one day the light bulb goes off. We have an idea, we search and BINGO!! HURRAY!! We find what we were looking for.
In this case, it was the marriage record of my paternal 3rd great grandaunt, Hannah Doten Burrell.
BACKGROUND: First of all, I didn’t even know she was my 3rd great grandaunt, until I began my Mayflower research. I knew that there was a Hannah BURRELL living with my 3rd great grandmother, Olive DOTEN HART and her family in the 1860 Michigan census. However, , that census record does not tell us the relationship of people living together. It’s not until the 1880 census that we are given the relationship status of the members of a household.
I’d always wondered who this 69 year old woman, named Hannah Burrell, said to have been born in Massachusetts and now living in Armada, Macomb, Michigan, with my Hart family was.
My Mayflower research lead me to the probate record of my 4th great grandfather, Isaac DOTEN. This record named his daughters, by their married names………….and there she was. Hannah Burrell, sister to my Olive Doten Hart. Wow! You can read about that wonderful find here FINALLY! Proving the father of my 3rd great grandmother, Olive Doten Hart (1805-1887–WHAT DID I FIND?
That happened back in 2019. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out who Hannah’s husband was. I periodically go back to her and conduct a search. I’ve located a lot of Burrells in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Today, I was looking at Massachusetts Town and Vital records. When suddenly, I thought, why am I not looking for Vermont vital records? Are there any online from that time period?
Off I went to Ancestry. I conducted a search by state and found all the records available for Vermont. Search>All Collections>pick the state and look at what is available.
I located Vermont, U.S., Vital Records, 1720-1908, which covers the time period I’m interested in. I entered Hannah Doten. That’s all, no dates, no places and got the following 4 hits. I knew that my Doten family lived in Monkton, Vermont so the last entry was definitely of interest. I also knew that 1810 would be about the time frame for Hannah to have married. She was born in 1791 and that would have made her 19 years old. I'm beginning to get excited.
As I hovered my mouse over the “view record” option I see that this record was indexed as Hannah Doten marrying an Esra Bursel. There is an image available. I’m guessing that the indexer typed what they thought was written. BUT, we all know that looking at those images with knowledge of a family is way different than just indexing.
Here’s the index.
Name: Hannah Doton
Marriage Date: 31 Oct 1810
Marriage Place: Monkton, Vermont, USA
Card Type: Bride
Spouse Name: Esra Bursel
Look what that image reveals.
I see a first name of Ezra not Esra. And as to the surname. It certainly wouldn’t be easy as an indexer to determine exactly what it says. BUT, for me, it reads BURREL. Right time, right place, right bride.
I have to tell you, I did the happy dance when I found this. My job now, is to locate more information on Ezra Burrell and his family.
- Did Hannah and Ezra stay married?
- Did they have children together?
- What other records can I locate that will further prove this is indeed the right marriage for Hannah?
I have work to do.
If you are connected to this family, you know I’d love to hear from you. Maybe you have information to share with me and vice versa. Please get in touch.
Happy hunting (it indeed was a happy day for me today)
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